The Mending Basket

You know that buzz you get when you buy a new item of clothing? Then you wear it, feel great in in, have adventures in it…and it wears out.

You stick it in the back of your closet because you can’t quite bear to throw it out. Then one quiet day you get your needle and thread out and repair it; you give it a wash, freshen it up and it’s a new-old piece of clothing and you didn’t spend a penny. Buzz!

Sewing contains romance, excitement and a hit of the happy you usually need to spend money to get, all while adding feathers to your sustainability crown.

Hand sewing is something I do sitting watching TV. I love sewing bold rustic patches on the worn out knees of my kids’ trousers. For one thing it means they have been out and about being active, and for another I get to recycle other beloved bits of fabric to make bold patches.  I get a buzz seeing my younger son wear trousers that used to be his brothers, and I just re-patched some jeans that have been worn by both boys to send to my brother’s twin daughters.

A sewing machine is a better option if you want a more subtle mend. A tried and tested invisible mend is reinforcing the worn through crotch of beloved jeans. Does this happen to other people? The rest of your jeans are fine, washed into a lovely fit…and the crotch wears out. It’s a huge waste of money and you lose your favourite jeans. They must be mended!

Some things I still send to a professional tailor: the zip on my son’s school fleece, for example. Yes, I did pay £15.00, but that included the zip and the tailor’s time – it was about the cost of a new jumper but the rest of it was good as new, so I opted for having a new zip sewn in rather than replacing the whole thing.I also recommend a tailor for leather items, as domestic sewing machines don’t really have the capacity for it. If your favourite handbag needs some TLC take it along and get a professional opinion.

But you can start with as little as a needle and thread – and a decent light. Get yourself a mending basket (or a bag, or a cardboard box or whatever) pop anything you come across at home that needs mending into it. It could be a shirt that needs a button replacing, kids worn out trousers or those beloved jeans. Have a little container for buttons or beads that have come loose – nothing worse than deciding to do some mending and then not being able to find that button. If you have a little sewing kit pop that in as well as I find it helps if everything is in one place.

All those R words – Reduce, Remake, Reuse, Recycle have such a buzz around them, there may well be a workshop somewhere near you to help you up-skill. I found one-on-one and group workshops at The Edinburgh Remakery.

I’m hosting my own Mending Workshop in October so stay tuned to see how my plan for converting others to the magic of mending goes. Who knows maybe there will be some new romance blooming out of mending sometime in the future.

Abridged from an original article at 



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